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Safe or vulnerable?

They’re immature, self-obsessed and entitled. For a generation, the millennials surely get their fair share of criticism. But a recent book iGen discovered an interesting quality of the generation – they are obsessed with safety. They are safer drivers, with fewer accidents and tickets, and are half as likely as Gen X-ers to get in a car with a driver who has been drinking. So, does it mean the world’s future is in safer hands? Or are they too risk-averse to bring meaningful change? Gulf News readers debate.

  • Image Credit: Ramachandra Babu
  • Dr Valeria Risoli, Clinical Psychologist working in DubaiImage Credit: Supplied
  • Heena Kapoor, French and English teacher working in DubaiImage Credit: Supplied
  • Syed Talha M., Business student living in DubaiImage Credit: Supplied
  • Yousuf Sait, Manufacturing head in a private company in DubaiImage Credit: Supplied
Gulf News

Good hands

They are cognisant of issues affecting the world

We are leaving this world to the millennials who are certainly maturing into adulthood and ensuring that our future is in safer hands.

A debate such as this gives an opportunity to relate to the upbringing of our own children and children of our friends and family.

We cannot change the fact that today all children have access to multiple devices and the worldwide web. But look at the bright side of things – our children are smarter, proactive and well-informed. As they grow older, these children are certainly acquiring valuable information now, which is enormously beneficial.

Millennial children today understand the world we live in with care for the future, they are cautious of waste reduction, reusable energies, and they question religious and cultural beliefs. If they are guided correctly with good family ties and values, we need not worry as the future is surely in safe hands.

It is for us to ensure that when children are growing up, they are not being exposed to content that is inappropriate, which could risk their safety.

Another important aspect is to regularly have family get-togethers and ensure seeing your child’s friends in person. We regularly do this at the smallest opportunity, meeting up in a friend’s home to see a movie or a cricket match or when its winter time there are plenty of barbecue nights followed by fun-filled evening of karaoke.

The idea is to make sure that children are away from their screens and ensure a healthy life away from negativity.

If there is a wedding in the family, we ensure that everyone gets involved with clear tasks assigned for everyone to ensure that the work is well-managed and all events are conducted as per plan. Millennials are extremely good in planning such activities with utmost perfection.

From Mr Yousuf Sait

Manufacturing head in a private company in Dubai

 

Different

Companies now treat us as equals

I strongly disagree with the statement that today’s millennials are less rebellious than their counterparts in previous generations. If you look at the facts, a lot of companies are stopping to treat millennials as millennials and are treating them more as equals. Similarly, in politics. Why do you think that is? It’s merely because millennials have slowly been taking over the world.

As a millennial myself, we spend most of our times on our most beloved smartphones. Now the older generation might argue that this is what is making us communicate less with the real world. We have quit reading newspapers. But while the cons may be many, the pros hugely outweigh the cons. Take lifestyle bloggers for example. We spend 10-20 minutes getting that perfect selfie, drive two hours to find that one hidden spot to take a magnificent picture. And what is the outcome? Besides a pretty picture, of course.

Business deals. Free stuff. Free trips. If done properly, of course. Huge companies then contact us – the same selfie-obsessed teens – just to promote their product.

I am obsessed with safety, yes. I do not want to crash my car, which I still haven’t, thank God. And I obviously do not want to fail at life either, in any aspect. But that is a basic human emotion.

Millennials, Generation X, Generation Y, my parents, their parents … we are all afraid of failure. You could say, fear comes with us.

But when there is some crazy roller coaster ride at Global Village, do you think our parents would run to take that ride or rather spend time with us? You be the judge of that.

Being safer drivers does not mean we avoid risk. It simply states the obvious, we can drive just as equal as our elders and perhaps even better. So when it comes to roads, being in safer hands is how it should always be. And this in no way should be used an example to talk about risk-taking in life.

Talking about being rebellious, today’s millennials would not like to say this out loud but they are dying to go out without their parents and a lot of times succeed at doing so as well. We like spending more time with our friends than family, and sometimes even forget to give family priority, which is wrong yes, but this goes against the claim made by the book. If you ask me, are we looking at a safer future? Yes. Millennials are the present and also the future. And anyone who thinks otherwise, better watch out.

From Ms Syed Talha M.

Business student living in Dubai

 

 

Risk

We are capable of creating meaningful change

Millennials are not risk-averse. They are practical people who think of themselves before anybody else. They would not risk sitting in a car with a drunk driver because they are concerned about their own safety first. Following rules is a mark of sanity.

The difference between the previous generations and the millennials is so huge that calling it just a ‘generation gap’ would not suffice. While Gen X was brought up in a changing phase of the world with no mobiles, computers or internet, the millennials have it all, right from birth. And on top of it, they know how to make the best use of this resource to suit their needs and interest.

Globalisation has opened the doors to a multicultural environment. Growing up amongst people of different ethnicities and beliefs and living in harmony among them has made millennials tolerant. And I do not believe that they are less happy than the previous generations. In fact, today’s youth have a way out to make all their dreams come true. They start working at great pay packages, they work in multi-national companies, they love to travel to new destinations and see different lifestyles. They are not scared to explore and be part of new activities. They prefer to enjoy the present, rather than living in constant worry of what the next day holds for them. And yes, they are rebellious. They have a say and are not scared to voice their opinions. They know how to stand up for themselves and fight for what they feel is right.

Change is inevitable and meaningful change is on its way – the only difference lies in the point of view. Times have changed and it would not be correct to judge the two generations on the same parameters.

Our present is beautiful. And so will our future be. And thanks to smart millennials, if it is safe too, that would just be an icing on the cake. I would love to live in a future like this. Won’t you?

From Ms Heena Kapoor

French teacher working in Dubai

 

Self-obsessed

Ample opportunities and a protected childhood has reduced the millennials’ empathy

I don’t necessarily think that being obsessed with safety and being risk-averse can potentially bring about big changes. If we think about the past generations, big changes on a social and political level were achieved by people who chose to rebel against the system and to risk a lot, even their own safety and sometimes freedom.

So although it is partially good that today’s generation is more focused on safety, such as not experimenting with things that might be dangerous, at the same time we have to try and understand what are the factors that made this generation develop this attitude and approach.

Partly, the way this generation has been raised is different from the previous ones. They are somehow more protected by their parents. This inevitably limits their opportunity to explore and take risks. Similarly, their parents also provided them with many opportunities and this inevitably led young people to have less initiative and audaciousness.

Perhaps another factor that might have led this generation to become so safety-oriented and less prone to change is the fact that they were exposed to the whole world through a device and so the idea of being connected easily with everyone and everything in a matter of seconds might have developed in them the idea that there is no need to risk or do anything audacious to change the world. It can be done with a click on a screen.

So what is it? Are they safer or afraid and incapable of risking?

If in the past young people were more rebellious about topics that could have an impact on their and other people’s life, today I find young people are more rebellious over very simple, self-focused things. An example is children and teenagers becoming rebellious because they are not able to accept a ‘no’ as an answer from their parents, or because they don’t agree with some family decision or are simply unhappy because they have to do things that they simply don’t like.

And I have to add that since the opportunities given to young people today are more than previous generations, it is also understandable that they don’t really feel the need to rebel or fight against anything as things might be achieved or simply given easily.

The problem is that young people will grow up and become adults and if they do not really fight for what is good and right, not only for themselves but for other people as well, the world might become a place where people are isolated, egoistic and focused on their own personal interests alone. This might not really lead to a safer world ...

From Dr Valeria Risoli

Clinical Psychologist working in Dubai

 

Gulf News asked: Do you think being overcautious is a good quality in young people?

Yes 53%

No 47%

 

 

Have Your Say:

Are today’s youth less rebellious than counterparts in previous generations. Are they more tolerant and less happy? Join in on the debate and if you would like to participate in future debates, write to us at readers@gulfnews.com

 

— Compiled by Huda Tabrez/Community Web Editor

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